7 things you might not know about sign languages

By Wycliffe UK


Did you know?

  • There are at least 392 sign languages worldwide (and counting!)
  • Sign languages have their own grammatical structures that are different from the spoken languages in the same areas.
  • Those who use sign languages often also have their own unique cultural expressions and artforms.
  • Sign languages are diverse! Just like with the spoken languages of the world, people who use one sign language won’t necessarily understand another.
  • Less than 2% of the world’s 70 million Deaf people know God.
  • Around 90% of Deaf people worldwide struggle to read, so printed Bibles can be difficult to understand.
  • The American Sign Language (ASL) Bible translation was completed in 2020* – the first sign language in the world to have the whole Bible!

Bible translator Aryan signs an entire memorised Bible passage in a video studio in India. The green screen will be replaced with pictures and visual effects in the editing process. Photographer: Elyse Patten



Pray for those involved in sign language translation

  • Bible translation work has begun in around 5% of sign languages. ‘Pray to the Lord of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’ (Matthew 9:38)
  • Praise God for the video technology used in sign language translation, and for the technology people use to access Scripture in sign languages, such as mobile apps and microSD cards. Pray that technology will continue to be developed and used so that more Deaf people can know Jesus through the Bible in their own languages.
  • Pray that God will give all those involved in sign language translation – both hearing and Deaf – special insight so they can translate accurately and in ways that touch the hearts of Deaf people.


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